September 6, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Updated Version - July 10, 2023
Hair loss is quite common. The condition is more prevalent in older people, but it can be experienced by people of any age, including children.
It's typical to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). You have about 100,000 hairs on your head, so this small loss isn't noticeable. New hair normally replaces lost hair, but this doesn't always happen. Whether hair loss occurs gradually or suddenly depends on the individual. Depending on the underlying cause, it may be temporary or permanent.
Want to know if you're actually losing hair or just experiencing some normal shedding? Unsure if it's time to see a doctor? Read on for more information about hair loss and how to manage it.
Symptoms of Hairfall
The main symptom of hair loss is losing more hair than usual, but this can be harder to identify than you might think. The following symptoms can provide some clues:
Widening of hair part
If you part your hair, you might start to notice your part getting wider, which can be a sign of thinning hair.
More Broken Hair on Comb
Check your brush or comb after using it. Is it collecting more hair than usual? If so, this may be a sign of hair loss.
Check if bald patches are growing over time.
Pain or Itching
If there is an underlying skin condition causing your hair loss, you might also feel pain or experience itching on your scalp.
You might find that your sink or shower drains are clogged with hair.
If you notice your hairline looking higher than usual, it may be a sign of thinning hair.
What Causes Hair Loss?
There are a few main types of hair loss, each with different underlying causes.
Androgenic alopecia refers to hereditary hair loss. It's the most common cause of hair loss, affecting up to 50 percent of people. Hair loss related to androgenic alopecia tends to happen gradually. While some people might experience hair loss as early as puberty, others might not notice symptoms until their middle ages.
Alopecia areata usually affects the head and face. Alopecia areata causes your hair to fall out in patches. Alopecia areata is a disease that happens when the immune system attacks hair follicles and causes hair loss.
Women may lose hair following childbirth or while in menopause. Women who have hormonal imbalances can have hair loss. Some men can lose hair as their hormonal composition changes with age.
Stress on the body and mind can result in hair loss. Stressful events including surgery, high fevers, and blood loss can lead to increased shedding. Hair loss following childbirth may last for several mont
Telogen effluvium is a type of sudden hair loss that results from emotional or physical shock, like a traumatic event, period of extreme stress, or a serious illness.
A thyroid issue is possibly one of the most typical hormone-related reasons for hair loss. Hair loss can result from both having too much or too little thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism). However, hair loss can be stopped by treating the thyroid condition.
Lack of Nutrients
Nutritional deficiencies like iron and zinc are frequently associated with hair loss.
Many medications have negative side effects that cause hair loss. Chemotherapy is the most well-known cause of hair loss, others are:
- Thyroid medications
- Some oral contraceptives
People respond to these drugs differently, so not everyone will have hair loss as a result.
There are a few things you can do to minimize hair loss. Keep hairstyle loose. If you regularly style your hair into braids, buns, or ponytails, try to keep them loose so they don't put too much pressure on your hair. Consume Nutrient-Rich Balanced Diet. Styling products such as blow dryers, hair straighteners, coloring products, bleaching agents, etc. are harsh on your hair. Use gentle baby shampoo to wash your hair if you're losing hair. Keeping your hair clean with a mild, chemical-free shampoo, hydrating it with conditioner and oil, routinely clipping it and keeping it out of the dust can all help prevent hair loss.
What are the common causes of hair fall?
Hair fall, or hair loss, can be caused by several factors including hormonal changes (like those occurring during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause), medical conditions (such as thyroid disorders, alopecia areata, scalp infections, and trichotillomania), medications and supplements (used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure), and certain hairstyles and treatments (such as hair weaves, corn rows, or hot oil hair treatments).
Does stress cause hair fall?
Yes, high stress levels can contribute to hair fall. This typically happens in three types of hair loss: telogen effluvium (temporary hair shedding), trichotillomania (an irresistible urge to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body), and alopecia areata (the immune system attacks hair follicles, leading to hair loss).
How does diet affect hair loss?
Diet plays a significant role in hair health. Deficiencies in nutrients such as iron, vitamin D, biotin, protein, and other vitamins and minerals can lead to hair loss. Conversely, a balanced diet rich in these nutrients can support the health of your hair and help prevent hair fall.
Can certain medications cause hair fall?
Yes, certain medications can cause hair fall. These include drugs for cancer (chemotherapy), arthritis, depression, heart disease, gout, and high blood pressure. This usually isn't a common side effect and hair typically regrows once the medication is stopped.
How does hormonal imbalance contribute to hair fall?
Hormonal imbalances, particularly of hormones such as androgens and estrogens, can contribute to hair loss. For instance, conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which cause an imbalance of male hormones, can lead to hair thinning and loss on the head.
Can hair fall be a sign of a serious medical condition?
In some cases, hair fall can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Sudden or unusual hair loss may be a symptom of an underlying disease, such as lupus, diabetes, or a thyroid disorder, and should be investigated by a healthcare professional.
Does frequent shampooing contribute to hair fall?
While shampooing your hair doesn't cause hair fall, it can appear that way. People often lose hair naturally in the shower, and shampooing simply helps free those loose hairs. However, harsh shampoos or over-washing can damage hair and lead to breakage, which might be mistaken for hair loss.
Can hair styling tools cause hair fall?
Yes, frequent and improper use of hair styling tools such as straighteners, curling irons, and hair dryers can lead to damage and breakage, which may be mistaken for hair loss. Over time, they can weaken the hair shaft and lead to thinning and breakage.
How does aging affect hair fall?
As part of the natural aging process, the hair growth cycle slows down and more hair follicles go into the resting phase, which can result in hair thinning and loss. This is a normal part of aging and is not preventable.
Can smoking cause hair fall?
Yes, smoking can contribute to hair fall. The toxins in smoke can damage the DNA in hair follicles and generate cell-damaging free radicals, both of which can lead to hair thinning and loss.
Is hair fall linked to a lack of sleep?
Chronic lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of health issues, including hair loss. Insufficient sleep can disrupt hormone regulation and affect the body's stress response, both of which can influence the health and growth cycle of hair.
Does excessive use of chemical hair products cause hair fall?
Yes, excessive or improper use of chemical hair products like dyes, relaxers, or perms can damage the hair shaft and cause hair to break off or fall out. These products can also irritate the scalp, leading to inflammation that can result in hair loss.
Can hair fall be genetic?
Yes, hair fall can be genetic. The most common cause of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia (commonly known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness), is a hereditary condition that occurs with aging. It happens in predictable patterns, usually receding hairlines and bald spots in men, and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women.
Is hair fall more common in men or women?
Both men and women can experience hair fall, but it's more common and usually more severe in men, due to the pattern and extent of the baldness. This is largely due to genetic factors and hormonal differences between men and women.
Can environmental factors cause hair fall?
Yes, environmental factors can contribute to hair fall. Prolonged exposure to pollutants, sunlight, and hard water can damage the hair and cause it to fall out. Similarly, changes in climate, such as dry or cold weather, can make hair brittle and more prone to breakage.